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$26,000 Average Wedding Price Tag, No Thanks

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My engagement ring is fake, and not the fancy lab-created simulated diamonds type that cost nearly as much as a mined diamond; no, it cost my favorite gentleman all of $627, and a large reason for that was because it was set in 14k white gold. He thought spending the prerequisite three-months salary on one piece of jewelry was ridiculous, so he didn’t, and I was thrilled about it.

Originally, we figured “let’s use the savings from my ring purchase and use that to pay for the wedding!” only that figure still seemed pretty exorbitant, and since there’s no real push by any industry stating how much to spend on your wedding, we didn’t know whether or not we were being unreasonable or not.  So we researched, and found out that the $26,000 price tag of an average wedding (in 2011) was nowhere near what we wanted to spend on a singular event. We were stumped, and didn’t know what kind of budget to set.

Then we had an aha moment; a percentage of our savings! It made sense, it gave us a clear image of what we could afford, and we wouldn’t be starting our lives together in debt. We felt as though if we take a certain percentage out of our savings, put it into a separate wedding account, and then pay for all related expenses from that account, we would successfully

a) Not spend more than what we anticipated

b) Have a clear idea of exactly how much we were spending on this wedding

So far it has been working amazingly; we chose 10% for our ideal. Then we realized that by our wedding, 10% of our savings would be significantly higher than our original budget (which is what happens when you have a 25 month engagement!), so we set a second threshold. The absolute maximum we’ll be willing to spend. Currently we’re still under budget for our original goal of $5,000 but after hearing these horror stories of unanticipated expenses, we’re hoping that we don’t exceed it!

How did you determine your wedding budget and how did you stick to it? Let me know if you have any tips!


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is a bride blogger who got married in May of 2013. Read more of her wedding planning posts here.